Well it's the start of a new year (yah I'm a couple of weeks off, but work with me here). Technically speaking, 2010 is the future, and so what better way to kick off the future with a quick little guide to staying healthy.
The problem for many guys (girls too! Don't think all of this can't apply to you) is that they assume that simply hitting up the gym and slamming the weights around will net them results if tied with unholy amounts of advertised weight gain/muscle juice products. Even if you don't fall into this category, and you just simply want a little bit of help, continue reading for my VERY bare-bones guide to getting in shape. If you want a more detailed one, and it's highly requested, I'll go into greater detail in another blog.
That's me at the end of August (right before I stopped working out due to school – I have horrible time management skills sometimes haha). It's probably the biggest/most ripped I've ever been. In 4 months (from the end of school to the start of the next semester) I gained roughly 10-12 pounds in muscle and had about 8-10% body fat. Was it really easy? Not terribly, but it wasn't the end of the world either. For those of you who don't know me that well, I'm about 6'5 and hover around 200 pounds when not in the gym. I'm a lightweight for my size, so no, I wasn't really big to begin with lol. As I mentioned before, the key to this is eating well, sleeping well, and putting in some effort in the exercise department.
Ok now this point has been argued by everyone under the sun forever and ever. I'll tell you what I consider to be the best way to approach this, but don't take it to be the be all end all answer. Take it, do some research on the side, and if you feel it necessary, talk to your doctor.
My philosophy and healthy eating is this: Know what your body likes, do that, and do it in moderation. What that means is you need to find out what eating schedule your body likes, such as is it better eating 3 big meals a day, or 5-7 smaller meals spread over the day. Once you've figured that out, just start eating healthy balanced meals at those times. For me, healthy doesn't mean steam everything and avoid butter. For me, healthy is keeping with variety and never ignoring butter Butter is actually better for you than you might think, but again, in moderation. Your doctor can probably give you a hand here if you want to get super serious about a diet. The power of google can also be a great help.
As with eating right, sleeping well is another case of knowing your body. You can google until your eyes bleed and find lots of studies on what the right amount of sleep is but the truth remains that everyone is different and so you can't just go on statistics. Some people only require 4 hours of sleep a night (like my father) while some require 9+ hours to be truly rested (like me). Some of it will have to do with age, some with activity level, and some with just being you. Odds are, you probably have a good idea what your body needs in a night, but just don't always do it. Keep on top of it, and you'll love yourself for it later.
Now this one is the thing everyone hates. Ok, maybe not everyone, but it's normal to despise having to do routine exercise. Depending on what you want for a body type (lean, muscular, Arnold) you're going to have drastically different exercises to do. I could write another entire blog on all three body types (and I might have already), but I'll give you the general stuff and you can ask me about the finer details if you so wish. What I really want you to get out of this are as follows: always do some form of cardio before you stretch, always stretch before you pump iron, and always stretch after you're done. Run, walk, bike, whatever you want until you are just at the brink of breaking a sweat. Do a good stretching routine that hits all your muscle groups (even if you think you won't use them for your workout that day) and then go about your workout. I like to do cardio before every workout; some people like to designate an entire workout to cardio. Again, it comes down to preference. As long as you're doing it, it'll be beneficial. You aren't going to see much result without cardio so don't ignore it!
When I was in the gym (or working out at home) I would generally do it Monday through Friday and give myself the weekend to rest. I can't stress enough how important giving yourself a day or two is when working out. The length of the workout will vary as well. I personally feel like I get a good workout, cardio included, in about an hour or hour and a half. It's of course a good idea to make it at least a half hour – don't be THAT lazy!
Arguably the most important thing to remember when working out is to know what you are doing and how to do it properly. Form can mean the difference between results and failure, failure and serious injury. Google away or ask your gym's resident experts how it's done!
There you have it. The super lean guide to being healthy. Probably the largest amount of common knowledge thrown into one blog ever, but nevertheless I think useful information that everyone should know. Whether you hear it from me, or someone else, it's always going to be a good idea to stay healthy, and stay fit.
Again, if you'd like me to go into greater detail or provide links to helpful information sources, just request it and I'll do my best either by pm or another blog post on the topic.
Have a good one! CP1